Re: maximum tatum (one tatum, two tata) (Bruno Repp )

Subject: Re: maximum tatum (one tatum, two tata)
From:    Bruno Repp  <repp(at)ALVIN.HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
Date:    Wed, 10 Apr 2002 14:03:05 -0700

Jennifer Puente writes: >By pegging the tatum to a production task, isn't possible to miss >the actual "maximum amount of discrete musical events a person >can identify in a second?" For instance, perhaps the person cannot >reliably tap as quickly as they need to in order to keep up with a >very quick sequence of IOIs, but they can still distinguish (hear) >distinct successive elements in the stream. Perhaps, the tatum >should identify, perceptually, the minimal amount an IOI can be >before a person can no longer hear distinct events in a sequence. This is exactly what the tapping task is meant to measure. Bartlett and Bartlett (1959) asked participants to make only a single tap that had to coincide with any self-chosen event in the sequence. In my task, participants had to tap with every fourth tone, which is at a rate four times slower than the sequence. In both tasks, participants are unable to synchronize taps with events when the rate exceeds about 10 Hz. Of course, people can still HEAR events at faster rates, but they can no longer treat them as individual events in either perception or action--at least, that is my interpretation. With regard to some other recent mailings: My question was not where "tatum" comes from (obviously, it is a reference to the great jazz pianist) but who introduced it as a scientific term and what its definition should be. -- Bruno H. Repp Senior Research Scientist Haskins Laboratories 270 Crown Street New Haven, CT 06511-6695 Tel. (203) 865-6163, ext. 236 FAX (203) 865-8963 e-mail: repp(at)

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